Reimagining Politics after the Terror: The Republican Origins of French Liberalism (Hardback)Andrew J.S. Jainchill (author)
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In the wake of the Terror, France's political and intellectual elites set out to refound the Republic and, in so doing, reimagined the nature of the political order. They argued vigorously over imperial expansion, constitutional power, personal liberty, and public morality. In Reimagining Politics after the Terror, Andrew Jainchill rewrites the history of the origins of French Liberalism by telling the story of France's underappreciated "republican moment" during the tumultuous years between 1794 and Napoleon's declaration of a new French Empire in 1804.
Examining a wide range of political and theoretical debates, Jainchill offers a compelling reinterpretation of the political culture of post-Terror France and of the establishment of Napoleon's Consulate. He also provides new readings of works by the key architects of early French Liberalism, including Germaine de Stael, Benjamin Constant, and, in the epilogue, Alexis de Tocqueville. The political culture of the post-Terror period was decisively shaped by the classical republican tradition of the early modern Atlantic world and, as Jainchill persuasively argues, constituted France's "Machiavellian Moment." Out of this moment, a distinctly French version of liberalism began to take shape. Reimagining Politics after the Terror is essential reading for anyone concerned with the history of political thought, the origins and nature of French Liberalism, and the end of the French Revolution.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 652 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
"Andrew Jainchill poses an historical problem with contemporary overtones. After his pathbreaking work, the decade between Thermidor and the establishment of the Empire will no longer be a political black hole during which bourgeois interests ran wild. The classical republican theories that had animated the revolutionaries did not disappear; private interest did not replace public spirit. Jainchill illustrates the emergence of a modern 'liberal republicanism' that recognizes that liberalism can no more survive without republicanism than republicanism can ignore the principles of liberalism. Jainchill's careful historical reconstruction will interest political theorists who are not primarily specialists in the French revolution. Although Jainchill does not mention it directly, it is tempting to ask whether his liberal republicanism does not offer hints for dealing with our own recent experience."-- Dick Howard, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, author of The Specter of Democracy
"Reimagining Politics after the Terror is a splendid, sophisticated, and important contribution to the historiography of eighteenth-century France, and to our understanding of the origins of modern political thought. Andrew Jainchill marvelously illuminates the history of the late revolutionary period in France and the origins of modern liberalism."-- David A. Bell, Dean of Faculty and Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, The Johns Hopkins University
"This extraordinary book shatters the scholarly myth that the rise of modern liberalism took place on the ruins of classical republicanism. Instead, liberalism arose as a far-reaching transformation within republicanism. Andrew Jainchill unearths these liberal beginnings in France not simply by focusing on canonical figures and high texts, though the masterful readings are there. Most important, he provides a compellingly rich contextualization of the political moment after the revolutionary terror that sparked the invention of liberalism from republican sources. The disquieting features of the transformation, including the implications for domestic security and foreign policy, are not neglected. Theoretically incisive and methodologically convincing, Reimagining Politics after the Terror is a landmark work."-- Samuel Moyn, Columbia University, author of Origins of the Other
"This is an excellent book. Andrew Jainchill convincingly argues that one cannot properly understand French Liberalism without understanding the specific problems and crises out of which it emerged, and without also appreciating the strange persistence of classical republicanism in the 'mental toolkit' of the period's intellectual elites. Paying equal attention to political concepts and political reality, Jainchill offers a richly nuanced portrait of the post-Terror period in French history and a fresh rereading of some of its major thinkers. This well-written and informative book should find a wide readership, and I recommend it highly."-- Helena Rosenblatt, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY